Housing starts unexpectedly rose 0.3 percent in September, signaling that the real estate market may be stabilizing despite the new foreclosure crisis, the Commerce Department reported. The annual rate rose to 610,000, the most since April and slightly higher than the revised 608,000 rate in August.
According to Bloomberg News , the median forecast expected September starts to drop to 580,000. However, building permits, which help predict future construction, fell 5.6 percent to a 539,000 annual rate in September, the lowest level since April 2009.
U.S. regulators announced last week that they are investigating whether employees of some of the largest lenders falsified documents used in the foreclosure crisis. Several banks have suspended foreclosures, which could threaten the housing recovery.